Effects of Playing on-Line Computer Games in Academic Performance of Students?

The Effects of playing on-line computer games in academic performance of students? Background of the study: The aim of this paper is to investigate a comparatively untouched area of research into games and education: whether or not there is a link between the frequency with which computer and video games are played, and academic achievement, as measured by traditional examination results, of those who play them. An online game is a game played over some form of computer network.

This almost always means the Internet or equivalent technology, but games have always used whatever technology was current: modems before the Internet, and hard wired terminals before modems. The expansion of online gaming has reflected the overall expansion of computer networks from small local networks to the Internet and the growth of Internet access itself. Online games can range from simple text based games to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players simultaneously.

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Many online games have associated online communities, making online games a form of social activity beyond single player games. The rising popularity of Flash and Java led to an Internet revolution where websites could utilize streaming video, audio, and a whole new set of user interactivity. When Microsoft began packaging Flash as a pre-installed component of IE, the Internet began to shift from a data/information spectrum to also offer on-demand entertainment. This revolution paved the way for sites to offer games to web surfers.

Some online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI and Lineage II charge a monthly fee to subscribe to their services, while games such as Guild Wars offer an alternative no monthly fee scheme. Many other sites relied on advertising revenues from on-site sponsors, while others, like RuneScape, or Tibia let people play for free while leaving the players the option of paying, unlocking new content for the members. Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more life-like and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities (e. . , virtual pets), pushed the boundaries of existing video gaming or in some cases add new possibilities in play (such as that seen with titles specifically designed for devices like Sony’s Eye Toy). Some genres represent combinations of others, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or, more commonly, MMORPGs. It is also common to see higher level genre terms that are collective in nature across all other genres such as with action, music/rhythmorhorror-themedvideogames. (Wikipedia) In the past, academic performance was often measured more by ear than today.

Teachers’ observations made up the bulk of the assessment, and today’s summation, or numerical, method of determining how well a student is performing is a fairly recent invention. The hypothesis is that there may be statistically significant variations between gaming frequency and performance in examinations for certain academic subjects – for instance, whether frequent gamers perform better in technical subjects; or whether those who prefer games of certain genres, such as collaborative role-playing games, perform better in, say, humanities subjects.

It is important to note at the outset that if such relationships do exist, it would be difficult if not impossible to determine any causal factors. It may be that students who perform well in certain subjects are already attracted to video games, perhaps more easily becoming addicted to them than those who perform less well.

Only controlled experiments could uncover the possible fact that frequent game playing improves performance, or the reverse, and it would be a formidable feat to design an experiment which would give foolproof results since so many variables, known and unknown, are likely to have an effect. The aim of this paper is to investigate research into games and education: whether or not there is a link between the frequency with which online games are played, the type of online gaming being used, and academic achievement, as measured by traditional examination results, of those who play them.

Nevertheless, as will be seen, the results of a questionnaire provide an interesting insight into some commonly held beliefs, such as that time spent playing video games is time wasted as far as academic achievement is concerned, or – surprisingly, not an uncommon idea – that the reverse is true, that is, that game playing trains the mind. The following is a brief overview of prominent issues relating to computer and video games in education, provided here as background to the results to be presented in this paper.

Rationale of the study: The computer and video game industry has grown considerably over the past decade. In 2005 a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation: “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 year-olds”, showed that over 80 percent of teenagers had a video game player in their home. The widespread use of video games has led to a series of questions. The most common question discusses the effects that the video/computer games have on the academic performance of the gamer.

Researchers have found that each situation should be handled independently because the effects vary from individual to individual. Many people focus on the negative effects of these games and fail to see the opportunity for learning and growth. According to Raise Smart Kids: “The Good and Bad Effects of Video Games” there are several positive effects that come from spending time playing video games. Most games do not teach kids math, history and other subjects, however, they do provide students indirect opportunities to learn principles that can help them in their academic pursuits.

Certain types of video games can help train kids to follow instructions as well as helping them develop their problem solving and logical thought processes. These skills translate directly to the classroom as students are asked by teachers to complete tasks and are presented problems that require them to use logical problem solving skills. Kids can also learn inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing. Games will often present them with a situation that needs to be solved and this causes the kids to have to develop problem-solving techniques.

Before purchasing a video game a parent should talk with a representative at the store to see what the overall premise of the game is to see if it includes elements that will help build these aforementioned qualities. Although there are some positive effects that are possible form video/computer game use there are mostly negative effects. Several professors conducted a research project to determine the effect of gaming on academic performance. According to the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology: “Gaming Frequency and Academic

Performance” individuals who spend two or more hours playing games on a daily basis score lower in every subject than their non-gaming counterparts. By spending a high percentage of time on video games there is not enough time left to spend in studying for classes. The study found that there was “not a single significant positive correlation between gaming and academic performance. ” According to a list of statistics produced by Media Family: “Effects of Video Game Playing on Children” roughly 97 percent of kids played video games in 2008.

In 2006 45 percent of kids were regular gamers, which means that they played for two or more hours on a daily basis. The high number of kids shows the importance of learning to choose games that will help strengthen and push the intellect of the child playing. Read more: Computer Gaming Effects on Academic Performance | eHow. com http://www. ehow. com/list_5910606_computer-gaming-effects-academic-performance. html#ixzz18eF3O9gz Statement of the Problem This study aimed to know the effects of playing on-line computer games in academic performance of students.

Specifically, it aimed to answer the following questions: 1. Significance of the Study: This study is significant because of how important standardized testing has become, and how much time and money are put into improving the scores of students in this area. Determining certain extra-curricular aspects of learning can improve the scores can effectively help teachers incorporate these features into their curriculum. Technology is a tool that teachers can use to support learning, but learning must be foremost.

If teachers do not understand how to support learning, technology use will be ineffective and inefficient. Egbert (2009) references a quote from Kleiman (2000) “While modern technology has great potential to enhance teaching, turning that potential into reality on a large scale is a complex, multifaceted task. The key determinant of our success will not be the number of computers purchased or cables installed, but rather how we define educational visions, prepare and support teachers, design curriculum, address issues of equity, and respond to the rapidly changing world. Technology is used in other ways than for educational benefits. Egbert (2009) explains technology as hardware, software, and related tools (P. 281). Technology was also produced for recreation and leisure. Technology created for free time could contain visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/ tactile simulations, such as a computer, CD-ROM, the internet, television, DVD, compact discs, iPods, MP3 players, video games and so forth. Video games are a form of technology encompassing visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile simulation forms.

Not all, but many students are enthralled in the usage of video games in their schedule of leisure time and relaxation. Review of Related Literature: This paper reports a proposal of investigating a relationship existing between online game usage and academic achievement, but the nature of that relationship will depend on the type of online game. It is an elaboration on previous work that explored how usage patterns of online games and electronics affect academics, comparison of academic achievement with and without usage of online games, and effects of online game usage on achievement and attitude towards academics.

This section deals with three studies that investigated whether or not the frequency of usage of online games and electronics would have an affect on the students’ academic achievements. The goal of these studies is to concretely determine if the increased usage of electronics and online leads to poorer performance in the classroom, or if the decreased usage of electronics leads to higher academic achievements. A complete study hypothesizing that there may be statistically significant variations between gaming frequency and performance in examinations for certain academic subjects.

In this study we utilized 18 undergraduate students with varying gaming frequencies, study disciplines, genders and general attitudes toward gaming and studying. These students were split into four groups in groups A, B, C and D to determine whether they played computer and/or video games. In addition, the ratio of male and female students was fairly close: 10 males to 8 females. Lastly, in order to become a part of this research these individuals needed to be registered on full degree schemes at Level 1, 2 or 3. The methodology or procedures for this study came in the form of a survey.

In order to get statistically significant results, if they existed, a survey of all undergraduate students was considered to be the best option. This survey was created in a web-based questionnaire, which had seven questions for the gamers and five questions for the non-gamers. The questionnaire was designed to find out the amount of time and resources that were being spent on video games and electronics. Additionally, the students needed to give permission for their questionnaire, for results to be used in conjunction with their exam scores.

The results and conclusions of the survey were interesting. First, frequent gamers are less likely to obtain higher marks across all subject disciplines than non- or infrequent gamers. Next, frequent gamers are also less likely to obtain higher marks than non-or infrequent gamers in humanities/non-numerical, science/numerical and mixed subject areas. Also, frequent male and female gamers are less likely to obtain higher marks than their non- or infrequent gaming counterparts.

Examination marks of gamers of four or more genres differ significantly from players of three game genres or fewer, with the former being less likely to get higher marks than the latter. After that, it was found that frequent gamers are less likely to achieve higher examination marks than non- or infrequent gamers in Math, English, Filipino subjects. Following these results, frequent gamers generally achieve lower marks than non- or infrequent gamers, however students who spend time on social events, and listening to music also obtain lower examination marks.

Overall frequent gamers generally achieve lower marks than less frequent gamers. A second study done, investigated whether or not increased usage of video games has any effect on academic performance, either in the National Aptitude Test (NAT). The participants were 40 college aged students, ranging from freshman to senior class status. The students were randomly selected from Professional Electronics Institute College in Iloilo. Collegiate students were chosen because their time management skills are more personalized than dictated by their parents, as would be the case with younger study subjects.

Methods In order to derive a suitably representative sample of participants for this study, careful consideration of the sampling technique was required. It was decided that a survey of all undergraduate students at our own institution – Professional Electronics Institute in Iloilo – would be a viable and realistic option to derive statistically significant results if they existed. A short, web based questionnaire was devised, containing seven questions for gamers, and five for non-gamers (see Appendix for the questionnaire).

The questions were designed to assess the amount of time and resources respondents spent on games, together with their attitudes towards the medium and other forms of popular entertainment such as cinema, music, and television. Attitudinal responses358 Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 2008, 24(4) were measured using Likert scales, and additional comments were encouraged throughout. Due to potential issues of privacy surrounding the use of examination results for this research, from the outset advice was sought from the University’s Data Privacy Officer.

Two stipulations were made: 1) in order to comply with the UK Data Protection Act and University regulations, explicit permission needed to be obtained from participating students to allow the analysis of questionnaire results in conjunction with their individual examination marks (retrieved from the University’s examinations database); and 2) students’ personal details had to be kept strictly anonymous in any publication. The objectives of the research, along with the two stipulations, were clearly stated on the front page of the questionnaire.

Students were obliged actively to place a tick in a box to confirm they agreed with these terms before they could proceed to the questionnaire. A pilot survey was carried out with 20 undergraduate students. Once the procedures and questionnaire had been finalized, all undergraduate students at the University were sent a standard email containing the details described above and asking them to participate in the survey (details of the duration and timing of the survey are specified in the next section).

The emails were sent using an electronic mailing list which contained the standard University email accounts for all undergraduate students (approximately 7,000 at the time of the project), allocated to them at the time of their enrolment at the University. An Internet link was included in the email directing students to the online questionnaire. All responses were automatically stored onto an Access database for subsequent analysis. In order to verify the legitimacy of responses, students were required to state their unique student identification number on the questionnaire.

This also helped to protect against the possibility of bogus participants and duplicate questionnaires being completed by individual students. Results An encouraging 1,187 responses were obtained (a rate of 17%), although several could not be used for the final analysis due to two main reasons: 1) incomplete answers to the questionnaire; and 2) inadmissible cases, where assessment results were unavailable (students on an intercalary year, postgraduate research, studies suspended, and so forth).

Further, in order to derive valid comparisons of assessment results, two additional restrictions were placed on the validity of responses. Respondents had to be (a) registered on full degree schemes at Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 (normally respectively representing first, second or third year of study); and (b) studying under the conventional University modular structure (i. e. to be studying for 120 credits in their year of study, thus being full time students).

Strictly applying these criteria brought the final number of valid responses down to a still very usable 713. Students’ academic performance was measured by taking their assessment results for all modules studied during the 2003 to 2004 academic year. The survey was administered in mid-June 2004, after the completion of all assessments, but prior to the summer vacation and for a total of 14 days from when the original invitation email was sent (see above).

Using these assessment results, an overall examination mark for each student was then calculated as a percentage using the University’s standard procedure. The majority of results are derived from traditional formal examinations, but due to the broad variety of subject areas incorporated into this analysis, students’Ip, Jacobs and Watkins 359 overall marks may contain a small mixture of other assessment formats such as coursework and practical or laboratory tests. A detailed breakdown of results for individual study schemes is given below.

Where appropriate, statistical analyses were performed using SPSS. For the most part, statistical and correlational data will be presented here in tabulated form for concision, while analysis of attitudinal questions in the survey will be shown in graphical format for ease of comparison and interpretation. All data used in the analysis were tested for normality to determine the most appropriate tests of significance. Tests employed as the result of this procedure will be specified throughout the discussion.

The use of tables and graphs will be combined in instances where the findings demonstrate a mixture of attitudinal and statistical significance. Demographic and student data There was a fairly well balanced male and female split: 369 to 344 respectively, with 354 students at Level 1, 210 at Level 2, and 149 at Level 3. As for student type, there were 292 undergraduates mainly studying humanities (non-numerical subjects), 327 studying Science pure and/or applied (largely numerical), and 94 studying a mixture of the two. The mean examination mark for all students was 56. % (standard deviation of 11. 4), a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test revealing that the marks were not normally distributed, and skewed towards the lower end of the range. Students were placed into one of four gamer categories which determined the extent to which they played computer and/or video games. It can be seen in Table 1, which specifies the composition of each gamer group, that over 88% of students were gamers in some capacity, with over 71% being regular or frequent gamers (spending, on average, at least one hour per day playing games).

Table 1: Number of students in each gamer group The following results are divided into increasing levels of detail with respect to an assessment of relationships between gaming habit and academic performance. First, a broad analysis is presented, which concentrates on the three main disciplines mentioned above (Humanities, Science, and a mixture of the two). This is followed by a more detailed examination of specific degree schemes, such as Business Studies, Computer Science, Engineering, and Psychology. Finally, we present an analysis of other pertinent aspects of the study.

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